London - A killer who let his date drown in a speedboat tragedy has won the right to appeal against his conviction and jail sentence – despite being on the run.
Jack Shepherd, 31, used his boat to woo at least ten women before the fatal trip with Charlotte Brown, 24.
He was drunk and the craft was poorly maintained with no lifejackets to hand.
However, he has not served a day of his six-year sentence because he absconded before the start of his Old Bailey trial last July. Miss Brown’s father Graham, described the situation as ‘incredible, absurd and disgusting’.
The 55-year-old said: ‘We all know what happened on the Thames and at the trial, but he’s still sticking two fingers up. We thought this absurd appeal would be thrown out immediately.
‘We don’t know when the court date is yet, but I’ll be going to it for sure. The idea that he could get his sentence reduced while he’s still on the run is incredible.
‘I’ll be raising it with [Home Secretary] Sajid Javid when I meet him, as arranged, in a few weeks, and with my MP. I’ll also be asking why Shepherd is still at large, what resources are being put into finding him, and whether representations are being made to countries where he may be.’
Mr Brown said police had revealed that Shepherd was abroad but had given no further information.
‘They told us initially that he’d flown to Georgia, but I think that was a red herring he’d told relatives and associates so they’d tell the police,’ he added.
‘It says a lot about the legal system that his legal team can be working to get him an appeal, but don’t seem so good at telling him to hand himself in, or revealing his whereabouts.
‘It’s disgusting. There’s no shadow of doubt in my mind that he must have people supporting him. How could he live abroad for six months without any income? He’s getting help from somebody.
‘Some people know where he is and have chosen not to say.’
Shepherd’s four-week trial was told that he called for help for himself when the boat capsized at high speed but did not say Miss Brown was also in the cold Thames waters. She died after being pulled unconscious from the river.
He was convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence over the incident, which took place in December 2015. The boat had sped past the Houses of Parliament at more than double the 12-knot limit before the crash near Wandsworth Bridge.
The European Convention on Human Rights has established a legal precedent that being on the run from justice is no bar to mounting an appeal.
Under client confidentiality rules, the lawyers of an absconding criminal do not have to help police find them.
Shepherd’s solicitors have already received almost £100,000 in legal aid to fight his case, and will get more for the appeal.
The Mail has revealed that he is also on the run from charges of causing grievous bodily harm to a man in Newton Abbot, Devon.
‘He’s got a serious drink problem – he can’t handle it,’ said Mr Brown. ‘He’s accused of glassing a bloke in the face, a stranger.
‘When he does finally surface he’ll have to face trial for that, as well as going to prison for manslaughter. He’s totally irresponsible.’
Miss Brown, who lived in Clacton, Essex, worked as a business consultant after gaining an English literature degree.
Shepherd’s lawyers blamed ‘cowardice’ for his disappearance. He married his fiancée just two months after killing Miss Brown, who he was dating behind her back. She is said to be raising their child alone.
Shepherd, a web designer, had been living on a houseboat in Hammersmith. A Twitter account believed to be operated by Shepherd under a pseudonym has claimed that he had treated Miss Brown ‘like a princess’.Daily Mail